Philippine farm sector likely to grow between 4.1% and 5% in 2012 on bumper rice and corn harvest, nation's agriculture secretary says

MANILA, Philippines , December 6, 2012 () – The Philippine farm sector is likely to grow between 4.1 and 5 percent this year on bumper rice and corn harvest, a senior agriculture official said Thursday.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said even if typhoon Bopha damaged farm areas in Visayas and Mindanao, its impact on the total farm sector will be minimal.

"Our projection (of a 4.1 to 5 percent growth for 2012) will most probably hold. By 2013, we hope to maintain or at least surpass this growth rate with the expected recovery of the fisheries sector," Alcala said in a briefing.

He said the farm sector would have posted a higher growth rate if not for the decline in the production of the fisheries subsector. Apart from the closure of the high seas in the Pacific Ocean for tuna fishing, the ban on sardines fishing imposed by the government in Mindanao has also affected the production figures of the subsector.

Alcala said the fisheries subsector will bounce back because of the conservation measures put in place by the Philippine government.

But he expressed concern over the possible impact of typhoon Bopha on banana plantations in Mindanao.

"We assure small banana farmers affected by the typhoon that the government will find ways to help them recover," Alcala said.

Bopha, which is the strongest storm to hit the country in 2012, triggered landslides and flooding in Davao region. As of 1 p.m., local time, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the death toll climbed to 327, with 437 being wounded, 380 missing and over 60,000 families displaced.

(c) 2012 Xinhua News Agency

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